How the heck do hospitals function?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by GFLPraxis, May 9, 2008.

  1. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #1
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

    I'm in the ER with my mom right now. We've been sitting here for 1 hour 45 minutes so far with no doctor in sight, and nurses simply ignoring my mom shouting for help with her weak voice. A nurse took a blood sample and that's it...the place is severely understaffed.

    I'm incredibly frustrated at the moment. Are these kinds of waits typical???
     
  2. 119576 Guest

    119576

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #2
    You're not supposed to use your phone in hospitals are you? :)

    I waited 5 hours for a consultation once...
     
  3. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #3
    That's about normal. I went at 6pm on a Monday and 9pm on a Thursday once and was seen very quickly. On the Thursday one I had just literally sat down before being called in to see triage and then I went right onto the doc.

    Other times not so lucky. For both I had to call out an ambulance and I was waiting 2 hours, 3 hours. Not so fun. Both were around 3pm.

    Infact we had one old woman sat waiting to be seen, she kept calling a nurse. They probably thought she wanted to be seen but she only wanted a blanket. Took ages to get their attention.
     
  4. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #4
    They assess the patience in order of urgency, so while it is annoying take it as a good sign that nothing is majorly wrong. It is not uncommon over here to have to wait 3 hours if not more.

    That is a load of bull they spin you to keep the wards quite and for you to use their expensive phone system

    we aren't talking about the vets :p


    Last time I was in hospital I was seen straight away, ambulances FTW :cool:
     
  5. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    #5
    In my personal view, hospitals don't function. I avoid them at (almost) all costs.
     
  6. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #6
    You don't mention what country you're in, but a 3-5 hour wait is not unusual in the US. Most ERs are understaffed and underequipped relative to the number of people trying to use it, but many of those people don't have an actual emergency, just don't want to wait for an appointment to see their regular doctor.

    One aspect of the problem is that there are other departments that come into the picture. X-rays and laboratory work can take a lot of time, and many of those patients waiting to get their "emergency" worked up are waiting on those ancillary departments. Or they might be waiting on a specialist physician to find time to fit a trip down to the ER into their already-full schedule.

    The upcoming shortage of doctors in the US is going to make this problem far worse here in the coming years. You had better get used to significantly less convenient access to medical care, including emergency care.
     
  7. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #7
    I've been to hospital once, and was treated immediately. However, I did have blood pouring out of my head at the time, so I guess I did deserve urgent treatment :rolleyes:
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #8
    Now that's not fair! A few weeks back I was out walking and my legs just gave way. Couldn't walk, heart was beating very fast, jumped frequently in and out of consciousness. Called an ambulance but I was deemed a low priority case and had to sit in the waiting room with ITV on for 3 hours :mad:
     
  9. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #9
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

    3:30 in, no sign of a doctor yet...so exhausted :(
     
  10. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Is this a public hospital or a private one like kaiser permanente?

    Once you get out of the waiting room and get a bed, then you have to wait all over again to get someone to look at your mom.

    Hospitals is a place:
    1. to write research papers
    2. rotate students around
    3. spend money on how to spend money instead of building more rooms and training more staff.
     
  11. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    #11
    ITV? Are you sure it wasn't a torture chamber?
     
  12. marbles macrumors 68000

    marbles

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    #12

    that would have finished me off
     
  13. Raymen macrumors member

    Raymen

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    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    #13
    At least you guys only had to visit. I have to work at a hospital, every day... believe me you think things are bad from a patients point of view. The sheer politics of even trying to sort problems out is unbelievable. Also you never seem to get praised for good work and are always reminded about the countless failings of your particular department at countless meeting. This is probably where all the docs are while your sitting waiting forced to watch daytime t.v! - thank your stars there was t.v not just year old magazines.
     
  14. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

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    #14
    Get ill in France - it's much better!:) For the moment at least - Die Sarko Die!!!!:mad:
     
  15. hana macrumors regular

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    May 23, 2003
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    Los Angeles
    #15
    Yep... it takes a long time to get seen by a doc in the ER. Latest case among my friends and family .... six hours for a sprained or broken ankle on an elderly woman. Then there's the cancer patient I roomed with briefly...twelve hours in the ER with nausea (not sure if it was related to her cancer meds) and no food /liquids. Then, when she got admitted, they told her no food and liquids.

    GFLPraxis.... how are you and your mom doing? Sending some good wishes your way...

    Actually in my last surgery, I remember it was delayed about three hours... I was cranky.... but afterwards, I realized that I may have been delayed due to some poor fellow who got majorly injured in some bad car accident that needed the surgery area more than I did.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    I think if people knew how hospitals worked, they would understand why things take time. An x-ray sounds simple enough, but it reality, it isn't. Wheeling a patient in, moving him over to the x-ray bed, covering him up in certain areas (maybe), taking the x-ray, waiting for it to develop, and printing it off takes time. That may be 10-15 minutes right there. Then there are all the other jobs to do. Patients never just get one thing done. Every part of the process takes time.

    Anyway, I'm not surprised. If hospitals were bigger, and there were more x-ray machines (there's already tonnes of them, but having an infinite number would reduce wait times to 0, of course), and all sorts of other things, then of course things would be better. Unfortunately, hospitals don't have a blank cheque, and don't have infinite amount of space, or infinite number of staff or equipment, and so people have to wait.
     
  17. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #17
    Any updates Chris? Your lack of presence makes me think your mum is finally being seen.
     
  18. Raymen macrumors member

    Raymen

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    #18
    I totally agree... It's not just the doctor that does the diagnosis. A lot of the time they are so unsure of the actual cause of a patients illness, and what with all these legal cases they have to be really careful. Also I think people need to remember that there is more than one patient that want's to be seen at any one time. Im in pathology (blood) As a insight our particular department can deal with up to 2500 patient requests daily, and untill we get our stuff done ... no diagnosis. Machines take time! then the results have to be checked, then reported, then acted apon then treatment can begin...

    I do have sympathy I hate waiting in a hospital too...

    R
     
  19. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #19
    I know this is a rhetorical question, but the answer will still be: YES.

    Typically when I end up in an ER, it's related to Crohn's Disease, and if I'm there.. then I'm likely going to have to be admitted.

    Still, my average wait time between showing up and being admitted is 9 to 13 hours.

    And we're not talking some po-dunk hospital here, I'm in the 7th best ranked hospital in the US.

    Unfortunately, you've probably got a long wait ahead of you.
     
  20. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    Iowa City, Iowa
    #20
    I worked in a hospital for four years as a technician and a patient educator, and then went to school to get my master's degree (during which time I spent a lot of my days in the hospital here), and I am going to medicals school next year. Up to this point, here is why hospitals are run the way they are:

    1. Insufficient staff (whether by number of by qualification) to do everything on a locktight schedule.

    2. Overuse of hospital ERs by persons not wishing to use insurance, or for those that simply do not have insurance. ERs are generally open 24 hours a day, and so people who need semi-urgent care (but who could probably wait until the next morning) go there and clog them up. Plus, people without insurance have to use the ER, and since they cannot get care when their conditions are less severe, they wait it out until things are crappy and THEN go to the ER. Untreated chronic conditions make up a fair quantity of ER visits daily. This causes delays.

    3. Defensive medicine. Emergency room doctors take their time because the stakes are so high. No one wants to be sent to surgery for something innocuous, nor do they wish to be misdiagnosed. The litigation-prone common citizen is partly to blame for this: most medical errors aren't really going to cause too many permanent problems, but if you can make a buck...

    4. Prioritizing. Doctors must see the most unstable, urgent, pressing cases first. Triage sometimes takes care of the rest, sometimes it isn't run very efficiently. See point number 1. Protocol also dictates some of this. For example, ALL chest pain cases have set standards for admission and workup time, despite the fact that about 40% of them are just heartburn or GI pain related to cramps, gas, etc. You can never be too cautious, and chest pain ER visits are very, very common.

    5. The complexities of the insurance industry undermine the flow of work at the hospital, as well as the hodge-podge of recordkeeping systems. Without centralized, electronic patient records stored on universal databases, access to needed patient information can slow down the care-giving process. Once again, this is defensive medicine at work, although by circumstance of infrastructure.

    6. Again, the insurance question. Those with better insurance tend to get better, quicker care (although this is unethical). Studies continue to support this conclusion, and I suspect it is related to point number 2.


    Sorry you had to wait so long. I took my grandpa to the hospital ER about three weeks after his heart attack because he had chest pain, and we still got put into this waiting area. After I casually reminded the charge nurse about his medical history (and the cardiac protocol), she kinda got the message that I knew what was going on and magically we got put through! Sometimes being persistent (but not pushy) can go a long way!

    I hope things turn out alright, I am sorry the system seems broken....since it is, in many ways.

    Take care,

    ~X
     
  21. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #21
    Yeah, the doc finally came...took about 4 hours.

    Looks like it's probably a kidney stone, combined with a few other factors- she had oral surgery this morning, and had been taking antibiotics and painkillers for a bladder infection, but couldn't eat solids because of the surgery which meant the hydrocotine had negative effects. She was in extreme pain in her gut and legs, barely able to stand.

    Didn't help that the nurses injected her with a painkiller that she was allergic to- though we didn't know and they didn't know so it's not their fault. Made her head throb and skin turn red.

    I understand that things take time, that it takes time for them to process the blood samples and all of that. And the doctor was actually really kind and apologetic- seems like the hospital got slammed all at once, including a guy with a blood clot in his brain and another guy with an overdose.

    Still, it was really frustrating because the nurses almost never checked up. They didn't do anything to help when my mom was screaming for help- nobody even stuck their head in the room. Their bedside manners were atrocious for the most part as well. And despite the fact that no one was checking up on her, there were nurses in the hallway exchanging jokes and laughing just around the corner, which got INCREDIBLY annoying. Only after the doctor came did a nurse show up who was actually attentive and helpful.

    She's going to be okay though- we're back home now.

    Thank you all for listening to my ranting.
     
  22. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    I hate in teaching hospitals how a new gaggle of residents comes by every hour and you get to explain your issue over and over. :)
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #23
    At least that's one (or more) gaggles less of new doctors who have no understanding really at all of Crohn's disease. There are some positives... :eek:
     
  24. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #24
    True. True.
    But I must say, being woken up for early rounds when you're on painmeds, unshowered, and in front of some pretty ladies (or dudes, whatever folks prefer) to explain how you feel and then check for fistulae...

    It's very surreal.
     
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #25
    Yeah, they really should be doing that during the day and not at night....

    I try extra hard to be a good sport when I go to the doctor's office because I'm a trainee. So I'm nice to the nursing trainees who want to try and draw my blood. :p
     

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